Entrepreneurs, or as I like to call them, “business starters,” are typically great at what they do, but are not always so great at running a business. Running is business is not just coming up with a great idea but involves a totally different skill set. Here are some tips that may come in handy.
A business can never have too much cash in the bank.
Cash is the lifeblood of any business. You need it for payroll, rent, R&D marketing, entertainment, etc. Cash is the oil that greases the wheel. Cash solves many problems so make sure you know where yours is now and where it is coming from in the future.
If you don’t know your revenues, expenses (recurring and non-recurring), capital requirements, profits, debt, and cash flow you do not have a handle on your business. Learn it or get help (see below).
Bad employees can only hurt you.
Reward loyalty, creativeness and commitment. Bad, disloyal and uncommitted employees can only hurt your business. Fire them. Fire them now.
You can’t know everything.
Identify what you do not know and get help. Humility is a powerful but sometimes lacking trait for those in a leadership position. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone who know what you do not. Identifying your knowledge gaps will only lead to success. Lawyers, accountants, bankers and insurance professional are your business friends. Use them.
Cherish your stars.
Every successful business has a star or group of star employees. Make them know that they are appreciated and be protective to sustain the relationship.
Yes and No are two great answers. First, they should that you can make decisions. Second, there is no ambiguity.
Listen to your customers.
People think that when they own their own business, they no longer have a boss. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every client and/or customer is your boss. Without them, you would not be in business.
Trust your gut.
You have instincts: Use them. Ever feel really good or really bad about a decision? That’s your gut speaking. If a decision does not feel right, don’t do it because, chances are, you will regret it later.
A business is a business and not your personal “kitty”.
You have two lives; a business life and a personal like that you try to keep separate to avoid burnout. Likewise you have business finances and personal finances. Keep them separate. Do not co-mingle your assets or pay your personal debt from your business account. It hurts the cash flow of your business and you could lose some of your legal protections.
Well….that all sounds like a lot to think about. These rules are not meant to be followed like a bible, but rather some business thoughts to think about. One of the best things about being a small business owner is your ability to pivot. If an idea is not working, change it until you are doing something that works. Running a business is not always about having all of the answers but understating the questions and getting the answers is what will lead to success.